SAO PAULO, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Banco Fator SA has tapped Wagner Murgel to head money management operations, in a bid to help the Brazilian mid-sized lender bolster fee-related income amid tepid merger and capital markets activity in Latin America's largest economy.
Murgel, a former Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co banking and asset management executive, replaces Marco Bologna, the chief executive officer of Banco Fator and who accumulated the position at Fator Administração de Recursos. In a memo to clients, Banco Fator said Murgel started at the unit on Oct. 3.
In an interview, Murgel said he plans to beef up staff in areas where some strengthening might be needed, although he declined to say which. FAR, as the asset manager is known informally, oversees almost 4 billion reais ($1.2 billion) of client assets.
As most investors expect the Brazilian central bank to soon begin cutting interest rates from the highest levels in a decade, players like FAR could offer them more products with attractive risk and returns, Murgel said. The unit has a wide array of stock, hedge fund-like and real estate investment funds that could benefit from a declining domestic cost of borrowing.
"Many investors have scant appetite for risk at this point, but that thing will soon change," Murgel said. "Our product platform will help us identify interesting opportunities for long-term investors."
In April, São Paulo-based Fator stopped taking and processing equity and derivatives orders directly from institutional clients. The move helped the lender free up capital and sharpen focus on catering to private-banking, home-broker, banking and asset management clients.
Antonio Conceição will continue as FAR's chief investment officer, reporting to Murgel, a 25-year veteran of Brazil's asset management industry.
$1 = 3.2146 reais Editing by David Gregorio